Ollioules, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

Ollioules is a French commune located just west of Toulon in the department of Var, in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Nestled at the entrance of the gorges shaped and sculpted by the Reppe, overlooking the village, the remains of the feudal castle will offer you an admirable view of an authentic medieval quarter (Romanesque church of Saint Laurent from the 11th century). Discover the famous Provencal plasterwork that adorns the windows of Renaissance dwellings.

Through all the riches of this ancient center, the Métiers d’Art and their workshops await you in order to reveal their know-how and their creations. The Massif du Gros Cerveau andChâteauvallon will allow all athletes (beginners or confirmed) to practice hiking and running on the GR 51, renowned for the magnificent panoramas it offers.

Ollioules, in all seasons, where sand beaches, secret coves, archipelago of islands, fishing and pleasure ports alternate, preserved forests, old stones and a rich heritage.

Middle Ages
It was in the Middle Ages that Ollioules actually appeared. From the end of the 10th century, it is part of the possessions of viscounts of Marseille, which will soon establish a feudal castle around which constitute the castrum original. In the XIII and XIV centuries, the city built the walls and develops its trade, agricultural town gradually becoming an affluent market town favored by franchises obtained the counts of Provence. This is also the XIV century as the city enters joint lordship to Ventimiglia and Simiane, two powerful families of the nobility of Provence.

The death of Queen Joanna I opened a crisis of succession to head the county of Provence, the cities of Aix Union (1382-1387) supporting Charles of Durazzo against Louis I of Anjou. The Lord of Ollioules, Bertrand de Marseille, also Lord of Ollières, rallied to the Angevins in 1385, after the death of Louis I.

Modern Times
The Ollioules golden age was between the XV century and the reign of Louis XIV. During this period, the area of the city triples and a rich bourgeoisie develops, which is still reflected today in the architecture of the old center. In 1520, the inhabitants bought the main seigneurial rights for a large sum. It cultivates the olive tree, citrus fruits (lemon and orange trees), fruits and vegetables, but also saffron, caperand already the flowers. On June 22, 1568, the creation of the brotherhoods of Saint-Nazaire, patron saint of Sanary, and of Saint-Laurent, patron saint of Ollioules, is approved, the latter organizing the feast of Saint-Laurent, still celebrated today.

Badly affected by the vagaries of the weather and the plague of Marseille, neglected by its elites in favor of Toulon and Aix-en-Provence, Ollioules was deprived of its port by the separation in 1688 of Saint-Nazaire (today Sanary- sur-Mer).

French Revolution
The city was the scene in 1793 of fierce fighting between the allies and the republican troops who came to besiege Toulon, Lieutenant Colonel Elzéar-Auguste Cousin de Dommartin was wounded during these clashes then made brigadier general on the battlefield. The city was occupied and the Republican staff moved there in September, under the command of Jean-François Carteaux. The city will be devastated by looting and burning. By a happy combination of circumstances, the young Napoleon Bonaparteis called to direct the artillery and will make in Ollioules the demonstration of his military talent. The 1st Republic will see Ollioules harassed by the delinquency of soldiers and deserters from the regular army.

19th century
In the 19th century, a new period of prosperity appears with the cultivation of the flower. Once considered the capital of flowers. Initially essentially made up of common immortelle, the production soon diversified and, thanks to the arrival of the railway in 1852, at the start of the Second Empire, the flowers were dispatched throughout Europe.

20th century
In 1922, Cerny-lès-Bucy, ravaged by war, was looking for a godmother town, which would help it in its reconstruction efforts: it was Ollioules. Indeed, twice, in 1922 and 1923V, the municipal council of Ollioules awarded a subsidy of 1,500 francs at the time to his goddaughter, Cerny-lès-Bucy. These credits allowed the expansion of the school, planned since 1910 and remained pending due to lack of resources. sources: Ollioules infos, n ° 109 dec. 2018 – Jan. 2019 page 32.

21th century
Today, Ollioules is a small town with more than 13,000 inhabitants. The labels ” village in bloom ” (3 flowers), “city of crafts” and “most beautiful detours” were awarded to him.

The reeds for wind instruments from Ollioules are reputed to be the best by the greatest musicians in the world.

Culture heritage
Preserving the architectural heritage of the town has always been a priority for the Ollioulaise municipal team. Over the years we have wanted to protect and enhance a large number of vestiges and buildings in order to remove them, as far as possible, from the wear of time and allow everyone to discover them in the best conditions. This desire to enhance the architecture of Ollioules began with the consideration, for the symbolic franc, thanks to the understanding of the owners Monsieur and Madame Pageze, of the remains of the Feudal Castle. After securing the site, the municipality wanted to use it by building an amphitheater with 200 seats which hosts various shows during the summer season (theater, concerts, dance, etc.).A program to restore and secure the remains is underway with Toulon Provence Méditerranée as part of the Citadelles du Levant. This is why the site is no longer accessible to the public for the moment.

The city has also taken care of the rehabilitation of the old Hospice which now houses a municipal daycare center and the rehearsal hall of the municipal harmony, the Lyre Provençale d’Ollioules. It also serves as a hall for concerts. In the Faveyrolles district, the so-called Faveyrolles chapel is also communal property and it is in consultation with the district festival committee that its maintenance is scheduled. In 2002, the small plot adjoining the chapel was completely renovated to accommodate entertainment in the neighborhood.

In 1996, the Maison du Patrimoine, located at 20, rue Gambetta, was bought by auction by the city. This remarkable house, which was listed in the complementary inventory of historic monuments in 1999 and whose corridor and staircase decorated with plasterwork were classified in 2000, is open to the public during major events, European Heritage Days, feast Olive tree from Ollioules… Since 2006 this remarkable site has been part of the heritage of Toulon Provence Méditerranée. The city aaRenaissance windowussi bought an apartment at 12, rue Marceau, the REISS property, the facade of which has a window with plasterwork framing and decorations in the staircase. After the facade was restored, the interior and exterior plasterwork has just been restored and stained glass windows have been installed.

At the entrance of Ollioules, near the Palisson mill and the watering canal, the town acquired a character house, the Fenouillet property, with more than 8000m² of land where the center was installed Aéré Lei Platano and an olive grove with nearly 80 good-sized olive trees that make up a representative variety of the Mediterranean basin and make this site a European communal olive grove since in 2004, 25 olive trees were dedicated to each of the European countries and in 2007 olive trees dedicated to Bulgaria and Romania were planted. The two municipalities of Germany and Italy with which the city maintains ties of friendship also have their olive trees.

The city also bought the Palisson mill, located in the Campcebier district, near the GR 51 passage. It is an old flour mill which is being renovated. This restoration work is done in partnership with the Tremplin reintegration company which, after having put the site out of water and out of air with the resumption of the roof, endeavors to redo the interior in the identical using old techniques. As regards the paddle wheel and the spoon wheel, they are both the subject of a meticulous reconstruction, the fruit of the work of the cabinetmaking students of the Lycée Langevin in partnership with the Ollioulais Heritage Research Group.

In the same vein, the city has taken care of the rebirth of the authorized trade union association of the canal des arrosants which oversees what is called the béal or irrigation canal which is used for vegetable and flower crops. This work requires rigorous maintenance if we want to benefit from the benefits of the source which is following its course. Since March 2008, still with the Tremplin association, several hundred meters from the canal have been cleaned and put back into water in the Petit Plan and Grand Plan districts; Currently the association works near the Berger bridge. In the old center, the fountains have been restored, place Victor Clement and rue Fontaine du Rentier, while the porches of rue Pasteur, rue Pierre et Marie Curie and rue Gambetta, rue du Lançon and rue Barbusse has been the subject of restoration and lighting work, with the support of European ERDF funds for the last three.

In the city center, another mill was acquired by the municipality, it is the mill of the Tower or mill Gast whose particularity is to be crossed by the béal but whose current state does not allow access to the public. However, thanks to a good understanding between all the owners of the building, the facade of the building was renovated. Below the remains of the feudal castle, there are still ramparts and those located avenue Barthélemy Dagnan were rehabilitated in 2002. The town took advantage of these important works of comfort to install lighting that enhances these ancient stones.

On the RN8, in the direction of Toulon, the city wished to get out of oblivion an old Kioskthanks to the understanding of Miss Mascarello, owners of the site. A first work was done to remove a nearby electric pole and the installation in the district of selective sorting door to door made it possible to remove the garbage containers which adjoin the site. In a second step, the building was restored as well as the dry stone walls which surround it, a protective grid was put in place, the olive trees which adjoin the kiosk were valued and the site is now lit. All the inhabitants of the district were invited on March 18, 2005 to the inauguration of these works thus measuring all the interest carried by the city to the preservation of the architectural heritage on the whole of the municipal territory. In the district of Gipière it is a small tower called Pigoulière which is the object of all the attentions as well on the part of the municipality as of the residents.

In the district of Châteauvallon, the city, owner of the 8 hectare site which hosts the CNCDC Châteauvallon / Ollioules, was in 2002/2003, contracting authority during the rehabilitation of the Bastide de Châteauvallon. Since then, the management of this cultural center has been entrusted to the Toulon Provence Méditerranée agglomeration community within the framework of the establishment of a special pole on dance which was the subject in 2006 of a vast project of catering for both the outdoor amphitheater and the winter theater.

After having carried out the raising of the organs of the St Laurent churchin 2003, the municipality followed in 2004 the restoration work on the church, the 9th centenary of which was celebrated in 1996 and which has been classified as a historic monument since 1982. Under the leadership of the chief regional architect of historic monuments, the roof has been completely renovated and the gutters have been redone. The site allowed the modification of windows and oculus. During the festivities of the 9th centenary, the town also wanted to protect and enhance the works of art that are in the chapel of the church. 2 polychrome wooden statues and 5 paintings, all classified, are visible during the heritage days. The municipality having borne the cost of restoring the painting which had suffered the most outrage over time, a bright St Eloi.

Since April 19, 2004 the Pierre Puget space has been open to the public. It now hosts the administrative town hall, a meeting room (for weddings, conferences, municipal councils, etc.) and a cinema room. All these infrastructures were created in an old inn and coaching inn, which later became the Carbonnel hotel. Recent research has revealed that this inn had been established on the site of the old property, which had been fitted out by the sculptor Pierre Puget for his son François (who had married an Ollioulaise) and that it was attached to a very large oil mill belonging to the municipality. It was thus natural to greet the stay of a great artist such as Puget in Ollioules by giving his name to a space with a cultural vocation. The town has acquired the remains of the Oratorian convent, Chemin de l’Oratoire, which have been “crystallized” and brought to light while the cross carrying Christ has been restored.

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Thanks to work on the requalification of the so-called Trémaillon plot, a piece of medieval rampart was brought to light during the earthworks. The work was halted to allow archaeological excavations to be carried out under the supervision of the DRAC and the Center Départemental Archéologique du Var. This part of the peripheral city wall which dates back to the 14th century has been preserved and enhanced. To do this, the site of rehabilitation of the Trémaillon plot has been modified and a space planned to realize a garage transformed into a “heritage room” dedicated to the memory of Casimir Bottin and Jean Layet who by their work allowed the knowledge and the safeguarding of the Courtine and Gorges d’Ollioules sites. In August 2006 the city acquired the so- called Observant monastery, a building located on the edge of Reppe, in the heart of the city. Again, this monument of communal heritage has been the subject of renovation work in order to transform it into a cultural space.

Ollioules also supports initiatives taken by associations such as “Les chemin du Patrimoine”, chaired by Raoul DECUGIS, and which has brought to light lime kilns which can be found in Destel or Chappe’s Telegraph on the ridges of Croupier. A municipal office has also been made available to the Ollioulais Heritage Research Group chaired by Mr. René Gramondi who, all year round, welcomes visitors to rue Baudin to help them discover all the riches of the Ollioulais heritage.

Journey Through the Arts
Holder of the national label “Ville et Métiers d’Art” since 1998, the City of Ollioules welcomes around thirty artisans who value the cultural heritage and know-how of Provence. Most of the workshops are located in the city center. Ollioules, who mixes tradition and modernity, and the craftsman who mixes his ancestral gesture with contemporary creation, form an ideal couple.

All the arts professions gathered in the heart of the city. From watchmaking to violin making, from jewelry to stained glass, or even from mosaic, pottery, through paper making, bronze or wood sculpture, painting, restoration of art furniture, ironwork, upholstery, the Marca company (reeds for wind instruments) There are around thirty workshops, economic and cultural players in the life of our old center that make it so authentic.

An arts trail developed by the city. Mainly located in the streets of the old center, the workshops open their doors to you. Follow the arts journey. Road signs show you at each corner of the road to follow.

Since 1992, an art gallery, the Galerie de l’Olivier at 5 rue Gambetta, has hosted exhibitions of regional artists and crafts all year round of Ollioules.

Religious heritage:

Church of St. Lawrence.
Evangelical Baptist Church.
Chapel of Faveyrolles, otherwise known as “de la Ruesque”
Convent Observentins XVI Century.
Chapel Oratoriens today Notre Dame d’Espérance, XVI century.
Chapelle Saint-Honorat, XII century.
Convent and XVI century.
Funerary slab of Rabbi Jonah Duran, Martelle district.
The Saint-Joseph day school and its chapels.

Civil heritage:

City Hall, built from 1809 to 1811.
The old center of Ollioules: ramparts, fountains, mansions…
The term of separation: the armorial bearings.
Remains of feudal castle of Marseille-Ventimiglia.
The castle of Castellombres known as villa Marguerite (botanical garden), seat of the CRS n ° 59.
The castle of Montauban.
The Château de la Tourelle including the Saint-Louis chapel overlooking the agricultural district.
The castle of Graille.
Oppidum de la Courtine.
Oppidum of Sainte-Estèves.
Oppidum du Garou.
The term separation.
The optical telegraph Chappe.

Agricultural heritage: The Canal des Arrosant.

The oil mill.
Wine cooperative called Cave des Vignerons d’Ollioules.

The fountains: The Saint-Laurent fountain.

The Septem Fountain.
The Rentier fountain

Natural heritage:

The throats
“Le trou de Besse”, cave where the famous bandit from Besse-sur-Isole Gaspard de Besse took refuge.
Panoramic view of the sea from the Big Brain.

Parks and Gardens
The playgrounds offer a colorful and fun space where children love to jump, climb, whirl. Swings, slides, turnstiles or climbing walls, the parks of Six Fours, La Seyne, Ollioules and Saint Mandrier sur mer benefit from an exceptional geographical location. The Parc de la Méditerranée or the Parc de La Castellane, for example, benefit from strong sunshine throughout the year. Landscaped parks such as Fernand Braudel aux Sablettes and botanical gardens have a wide variety of plant and flower species to discover every season.

Massif du Gros Cerveau
The Gros Cerveau massif (443 meters) offers countless places to stroll and grandiose views extending from the islands of Hyères to the creeks of Cassis-Marseille and the entire chain of Sainte Baume.

Ollioules Gorges and Destel
The Reppe and Destel gorges meet north of Ollioules to form the Gorges of Ollioules. The gorges have been shaped by water and time which have carved out pots of giants, vats and caves, in a beautiful white limestone. These gorges were in the 18th century the refuge of the famous brigand “Gaspard de Besse”.

Agricultural Market
This agricultural market is the embodiment of the will of the town of Ollioules to enhance the short supply chains of local products. It must also allow the promotion of local products and reduce the impact linked to the transport of goods. It is on a common ground, located on the road of the Station, near the Municipal tennis Ollioulais and the family gardens, that the agricultural market was installed. It is symbolized by the old Flower Hall which was near the station and which was dismantled and then reassembled piece by piece.

This hall, emblematic of the economic development of Ollioules when it was the capital of flowers, is a strong symbol of the city’s attachment to its agricultural and horticultural sector. In concrete terms, the agricultural market welcomes more than twenty producers from Ollioules and the surrounding area (registered with the MSA or retired MSA) who offer for sale fruit, vegetables, flowers but also olive oil, honey, homemade jams, eggs, shells, fish…

Provençal Market
Every Thursday and Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Place Jean Jaurès is entirely dedicated to the fairground market. Producers and resellers share the space, under the authority of the local dealers. Through the seasons, the clientele is always sure to find fresh and varied products with, in addition, traditional fruits and vegetables, flowers, honey, but also clothes, shoes… With the summer season, tourists are welcomed with pleasure and they discover producers who are delighted to sell their food with a touch of accent which gives the taste of cooking with olive oil and a little garlic. The Ollioules market has also had the honors of the 1 p.m. newspaper on TF1 thanks to its simplicity and authenticity. Of course, for the city which has supported local agriculture for many years, this essential market is complementary to the local producers’ market which takes place 2 or 3 times a week depending on the season, in the Gare district.

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